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The Bellarion

The Bellarion

The Bellarion

Hometown Orioles Turn the Tides on Expectations

The Baltimore Orioles have officially clinched a postseason spot, beating the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, September 17, in front of the home crowd.  

The Baltimore Orioles have officially clinched a postseason spot, beating the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, September 17, in front of the home crowd.  

After a surprise 83-win season in 2022, the Orioles were still projected to have 74 wins, according to ESPN. Additionally, of the 28 ESPN voters, not even one had the Orioles making the postseason, much less winning the division. They started the 2023 season 1-2, allowing 27 runs to the Boston Red Sox in the span of those 3 games. 

Ethan Dean

Now, the villain of our story, let’s introduce the Tampa Bay Rays. The last time they missed the playoffs was 2018, so it’s fair to assume they are pretty solid. To start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays won 13 games before they lost just 1. Through the month of April, they were 23-6. However, the Orioles were lurking in their shadows at 19-9, keeping a consistent pace in time with the Rays.  

After 4 months of battling to stay close, the date was Wednesday, July 19. The Orioles were facing the incredible Dodgers lineup, while the Rays were matching up with the surging Rangers. The Orioles are 1 game behind the Rays, the smallest gap since the season began.  

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8-5, the Orioles win. 5-1, the Rays lose. Just as suddenly as the Rays ran away with the division, the Orioles have taken it back, and now sit atop the division. At the end of the day on Thursday, July 20, the Orioles hold sole lead of the division for the first time.  

Flash forward to Thursday, September 14. The Orioles are hosting the Rays for the last time this season. All they need to do is take one game to get the tiebreaker and split the series to maintain the 2-game lead they entered the series with.  

They lose the first two games, and for the first time since that July night, the Orioles are no longer in sole control of the AL East. However, the reason they’ve got this far is the fight the young team has. Led by Adley Rutschman and rookie Gunnar Henderson, the team plays until the very last out. They handle the Rays on Saturday, September 16, with an 8-0 win, and regain a 1 game lead while also clinching the tiebreaker.  

The stage is set for Sunday, September 17. If the Rangers lose to the Cleveland Guardians, the Orioles are in. If the Mariners lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Orioles are in. If the Orioles beat the rays, they’re in.  

The Cleveland Guardians beat the Texas Rangers with a 9-2 domination. To sum up the Orioles game, Adam Frazier ties the game with 2 outs in the 9th, Adley Rutschman ties the game with 2 outs in the 10th, and Cedric Mullins wins the game with a sacrifice fly in the 11th 

The Baltimore Orioles have clinched a playoff spot, built a 3-game cushion in front of the Rays, and are playing in October for the first time since 2016. As of Tuesday, September 19, the Orioles’ AL East magic number is at 9. Their magic number will go down 1 with an Orioles win, and 1 with a Rays loss. Once the magic number hits 0, they have won the division.  

After 6 years of triple-digit losing seasons and being the laughing stock of the league, constantly being underestimated by experts and baseball fans, the young kids are taking over. Rutschman and Henderson are leaders on the team, as since Rutschman played his first game, the Orioles have never been swept. Prospect Jackson Holliday is now in Triple-A with the Norfolk Tides, ready to make his debut. John Means is back on the mound, and already looks good.  

The Orioles are back. Gunnar Henderson for Rookie of the Year. That’s all.